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Pakistan opposition asks PM to resign after conviction

04-26-2012 16:26 BJT

ISLAMABAD, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The main opposition in Pakistan Thursday asked the beleaguered Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, to step down after the country's Supreme Court found him guilty of contempt of court.

The Supreme Court convicted Gilani for failing to act on its several directives to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

A seven-judge bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk sentenced the prime minister until the rising of the court. The Prime Minister was released after 30 seconds when the judges left the court's room.

Gillani was elected the prime minister of Pakistan in March 2008 after his Pakistan Peoples Party won a considerable victory in the parliamentary elections. He is Pakistan's first Prime Minister to be convicted.

The opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked Gilani to resign as he has no "moral justification" to continue as the prime minister after conviction.

"The prime minister should immediately resign," Sharif said in a statement.

He backed the court's verdict and described it based on truth and reality as the government has "insulted" the highest judiciary.

Sharif also advised parties in the ruling coalition to clarify their position on the court's order, saying that the president and the prime minister are "responsible for the situation."

The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has expressed disappointment over the verdict and a federal minister said the PPP has always been "victimized".

The opposition Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami also called for resignation of the prime minister. The Jamaat chief Syed Munawar Hasan said Pakistan will face humiliation at international level if a convicted prime minister continues to function.

Legal experts said that the prime minister has lost his parliamentary seat after conviction.

Official sources said that cabinet ministers advised the prime minister to approach the Supreme Court for a review of the guilty verdict.

Earlier minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the government will file a review appeal as the prime minister has the right to appeal.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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